Hosting an outdoor summer party

June 12
No comments yet
*

Last month I hosted a simple little party with my friends to celebrate the beginning of summer. Generally, my entertaining is pretty simple with bags of chips and beer in a cooler, but for this girls only event I wanted to step it up a notch.

One of the ways I like to make a party or event feel a little classier is by the serving items I use. For this party I purchased galvanized steel trays to match the beverage tub I already owned. Although I saw tons of cute summer themed and printed serving items I stuck to plain ones because I wanted items that could be used for multiple parties throughout the year. I mean I love pineapples, but they would just look strange for Thanksgiving.  I also purchased a large mason jar styled water dispenser to keep my guests hydrated.

For the paper goods I just purchased the slightly nicer versions of things. I bought the clear cups instead of the red solo cups and the matching plates, silverware, and napkins from a line at target. I spent maybe a few dollars more on these, but it is worth it for the overall look and feel of the party.

img_0253

I live in Florida, here summer starts in the middle of March so I wasn’t sure how I was going to tackle the sandwich station. I wanted to have the supplies out, but I did not want to worry about anything going bad. I stressed about this for a little while until I realized I could create a system where the food would rest on a bed of ice. To make this, I purchased two of the same steel trays but filled one with water and froze it. When it came time for the party I placed the tray with the food on top of the frozen tray and the sandwich supplies stayed nice and cool. BONUS: Now I have two steel trays for a future party.

img_0255

My favorite part of this setup was the DIY Mimosa station. I’m sure you’ve seen these all over Pinterest, but I love the idea and wanted to try it myself.

img_0257

The sign is made from a precut piece of steel at Michaels and I made the vinyl decal with my Silhouette Cameo.  I also made a matching sign for the front door that said “Come on in” so the guests would know to come in and head to the back yard.

For the drinks I purchased orange juice (no pulp), lemonade, and raspberry lemonade. I thought I had three cute bottles to put the drinks in, but the evening before the party I realized I only had two. I was able to find some of the raspberry lemonade in a similar bottle so I used that, but ideally all three bottles would match.  For booze I bought a few bottles of prosecco and a bottle of rosé for anyone who isn’t a fan of mimosas.

In front of the bottles I placed fruit in three cups to be used as garnish. We had oranges, lemons, and strawberries cut and ready to use. For this party I keep those on ice due to the heat, but generally I’d keep them out front.

img_0254

Along with these goodies I put out a veggie tray for guests to nibble on during the party. I offered ranch dressing and hummus as dips. Although I love chip and cookies as easy party foods, I wanted to offer my guests a healthy alternative which I think was appreciated.

Overall this was a great little party for myself and my girlfriends. It was nice to do something a little fancier to kick off summer as I’m sure the rest of our summer parties will be much more casual. Hopefully this information can help you get your summer party of to a great start.

img_0258

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item via a link from the page I will receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item. In fact, I research the best prices for my site. All printables are free. Enjoy!

 

Hosting an outdoor summer party

RELATED POSTS

Making a summer bucket list in my Happy Planner

June 6
No comments yet
*


So the summer is finally here and I am ready to make the most of it. Last summer was a little crazy with our home search, a new job, and handling a new commute but I now I am ready to go for it. My problem is that at the end of every summer I feel like I haven’t done anything “summery” and that I’ve wasted my time. Of course in all actuality I am usually super busy with work and the like over summer, but still, I wanted a way to really sit down and decide what I wanted to do.

So last week I took the MAMBI seasonal sticker pack and use their summer bucket list stickers as a start. I then added in my own items with other stickers and pen. I used a sheet of planner filler paper, however you could also make your own dot paper

 

OK, so maybe I cheated and added items I knew I was going to do, but that is OK. I want to be able to go back and say I did these things and then after I do them I will write the date. For the more general events this will be a way to remind myself of great ways to celebrate the season when all I feel like doing is watching TV. 

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item via a link from the page I will receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item. In fact, I research the best prices for my site. All printables are free. Enjoy!

 

Need a punch? I have this one and love it!
The new Happy Planners are out! Grab one here!.
Looking for sticker paper? I buy this one from Amazon.
I cut my stickers with a Silhouette Cameo electric cutting machine.
On a budget? Try the Gyro-cut to cut your stickers.
Looking for more? Check out my archive of free printables.

 

creating a summer bucket list in your planner

RELATED POSTS

Six tips for your next yard sale

May 31
No comments yet
*

six tips for your next yard sale

1. Have change, and lots of it.
Go to the bank a few days before your sale get some change. I suggest $50 in small and medium bills along with several dollars of change. Inevitably your first buyer will need to break a twenty-dollar bill for a two-dollar purchase. Many yard sale regulars will come with small bills, but you never know. Have a plan for what you will do if you cannot make change along with a rule for the highest bill you will take. I suggest never accepting anything other than cash at your sale unless you’re equipped to take card.

2.  Group like items together.
For my sale I had one table with all the “girly” stuff, another with home decor, one for nerdy toys, and another for misc home goods. This way buyers could gravitate to tables that had the types of items they were interested in and not become overwhelmed by number and variety of the items. Feel free to mention tables to buyers who you think may enjoy their contents. They may have overlooked them.

4. Make your sale welcoming.
Think about how you feel walking into a well designed and organized store versus how you feel when you enter a messy thrift shop or discount store. Pull items out of boxes and display in an appealing manner. Hang clothing when possible or place on tables. Items off the ground are easier to see for most buyers. Look around your home and garage to find ways to make tables. We used plastic totes and the top of a broken coffee table.

3. Price it out
Place prices on as many items as you can. This will save you time in the future when you have five customers needing help at the same time and can also attract customers that don’t love the item but love the price. While we are talking about prices…

4. Give your prices wiggle room
Finding the perfect yard sale price is hard. You want your prices to be inviting, but you don’t want t give your items away. Also remember that many customers will want to bargain with you for a better deal. I always suggest pricing 25% higher than you think is a good deal for an item so you have wiggle room but the price is also enticing to a non-bargaining shopper.  Don’t have a clue how to price your items? Stop by a few sales the weekend before to see what going rates in your area are.

5. Be firm with your price and stipulations.
This may seem to go against my previous tip, but please be firm with your shoppers. I have been to so many sales were a seller has a customer that was low-balling and the seller does not know what to do. Let the buyer offer lower as mentioned about but be firm with your lowest price. I had a set of curtains at my sale that I was asking $10 for. The customer offered $5 and I said $8. Shen then kept trying to get me lower even though I told her it was my lowest price. Stick to your guts and be firm. Yes, you want to make some money, but its not worth it to just give your stuff away. (Yet.)

6. Have a plan for when it’s over
Have a plan for your stuff after the sale. You may make a make a decent amount of money but I am sure you will still have boxes of stuff to deal with. I suggest using this time to call a local charitable organization or thrift shop and having them come pick up whatever it left. If you have the room you may want to save some of the better items for a sale the following year, but if you think it will be over a year before your next sale I suggest you just donate the items. Exceptions to this rule are items for sale over $30. These items can be listed and sold on craigslist, Facebook, Offerup, or Poshmark (clothing).

I hope these tips helped you get an idea of how to set up and run your sale. Good luck!

Summer 2017 favorites part 1

May 21
No comments yet
*

Hey all, I know its been pretty quiet around here but I wanted to jump in and share a few of my favorite things so far this summer. Now yes, I know technically it is not summer yet but if you were in Florida right now with me you’d totally feel like we’ve been in summer for several weeks now.

 

The first is this baked salmon recipe. I haven’t cooked very much fish in my adult life due to being cheap and the fact that until recently my husband wasn’t a fan. Several months ago I started cooking it again and slowing working it into our diet. My husband has been super sweet and has tried and almost enjoyed the fish so we’re making it a weekly thing now. Also, do you shop at Aldi? Their prices on frozen vacuum sealed fish cannot be beat. And they’re good!  Anyways, I’ve made this salmon recipe twice now for family and friends and it was enjoyed by all. I love how simple it is to make in the oven on a sheet pan with tin foil; the cleanup is a breeze and the house does not smell like fish like it does when we pan fry.  WIN

img_9859

Hey, did you know Charlie and I run a board game blog? Well now you do. It is boardgamingcouple.com and we talk all about old and new board games from the perspective of a board game veteran and a novice. It is a great place to find ideas for games that everyone can enjoy both as a couple and with friends. Recently, a company reached out to us to try out their new game Manicdotes and we really enjoyed it. You can read about it here.

 

Spending some time in the 🍻 tent at @orlandofringe. #orlando #orlandofringe #ofringe26 #orlandofringefestival #beer

A post shared by 📒 Amberdowns.net 📒 (@_amberdowns) on


Charlie and I have spent the last few days at the Orlando Fringe Festival and have been having a blast seeing tons of shows, friends, food, and of course spending time in the beer tent. I’ve been drinking Kona Hanalei Island IPA and loving it. It has what I am looking for in a simple, fruity, drinkable IPA. It has some light fruity hints (I am loving fruity and citrus beers this summer.) and only a 4.5 ABV which is perfect for the summer. I’ve seen this beer is in stores but always passed it up for something more “craft,” but honestly, I am going to have to grab a 6-pack to drink by the pool.

 

8425790_fpx
Last month Lancôme sent me a gift of several products to try out. I loved them all, but I wanted to share with you my new lipstick favorite Lancôme Matte Shaker Liquid Lipstick. Lancôme sent me the Pink Power color and at first I was kinda bummed because I don’t wear bright pink lipstick but then I said “screw it” and wore it anyways. Guess what friends, I loved it. I wore it to a girls night with my sister and it was fun just doing something different. It does really last, like so much that you’d better have some makeup remover at then end of the night or else you will have day two pink lips. It was great for something fun and different and I can’t wait to pick up another shade as I love a lipstick that really does last all day.

That’s all I have to share for now but keep an eye out for some summer clothing favorites in the near future. ❤

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item via a link from the page I will receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item. In fact, I research the best prices for my site. All printables are free. Enjoy!

Mother’s day ideas

May 7
No comments yet
*

I wanted to take a few minutes and share some great last minute gift ideas. These are all found on Amazon and are prime shipping eligible so  it will arrive well before the 14th.

 

Up first is this adorable planner. Does mom plan? If not get her one of these just in case she’s interested. BONUS: This one is super cute for summer!

I am loving these matching Mother and Daughter Alex and Ani bracelets! (They come in gold and silver!)

 

Does she like to read? Where’d you go Bernadette is a great summer read.

 

Looking for something for a new mom or a mom who is trying to juggle everything? Get her Grace not Perfection by Emily Ley. I love this strong woman and this book.

Nothing looks good yet? Get her a coffee gift set. Its cute, and its coffee!

 

I hope one of these works for you! Have a great week friends.  <3
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item via a link from the page I will receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item. In fact, I research the best prices for my site. All printables are free. Enjoy!Easy last minute mother's day gift ideas that will arrive by the 14th!

My new favorite kitchen tool

May 6
No comments yet
*

Fun fact: although I love coffee I’ve never owned a automatic drip coffee maker. I used a Keurig for several years and also have used a french press and pour over methods sporadically.

Anyways, I loved my Keurig but I always feel like its expensive and wasteful. I felt like I had to shop around to get the best deals on the k-cups because they are so expensive and I hated throwing the plastic away.

So I stated experimenting with the french press and pour over and and I although the pour over was fun, I didn’t enjoy the time consuming aspect of standing there pouring the water over the coffee. Also, I tended to pout too much water and make a mess. Anyways, I ended up loving the french press but I tried several and none of them were amazing. I wanted to purchase an item that was a “buy it for life” type thing so that I don’t have to go buy another one or worry about it breaking.

 

So, fast forward a few years and at least three presses and I finally got fed up and started researching what the best press would be. From what I read it seemed that the best way to go was a stainless steel press. At first I was against the idea of a the stainless because I wanted to be able to see the contents of the pot, but after more research and breaking ANOTHER glass press I gave in. (Yes, I broke another one while deliberating over my purchase.)

img_8986

So, I went to amazon and found this moderately priced press.  Now the $35 price tag totally scared me away at first, especially when I usually went for the $10 models. BUT LET ME TELL YOU. This thing is totally worth the money. The quality level of all the parts are 110%. The filter is a perfect tight fit and the press comes and an extra on just in case you need to replace yours. The cheaper presses I’ve owned all had filters that were subpar and did not fit as tight in the pot.

img_8988

I had been using the smaller single serve french presses but I went ahead and ordered the larger one for my “buy it for life” item. This worked out well as I was expecting several overnight guests so I wanted  something versatile for larger groups. This press makes four servings of coffee if you don’t use huge mugs. Perfect for my guests!  Anyways, I can still do a smaller batch in the press for just a 20oz mug but I also regularly make a full batch so that I can use the extra to make ice cubes or just stick it in the fridge for iced coffee the next day.

 

Anyways, I haven’t tried every french press on the planet but I have been using this one for a few months and I am pretty sure its a solid win.

 

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item via a link from the page I will receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item. In fact, I research the best prices for my site. All printables are free. Enjoy!

Bullet journal paper

May 2
4 Comments
*

So if you have been following along you might be aware that I have been experimenting with bullet journaling in my mini happy planner.  Well, I am going to be honest, it has not been going great, but that is my fault.

Anyways, I have been looking to buy some dot paper like you find in bullet journals but it turns out it is a little hard to find and cost prohibitive. I see people selling it precut for the Happy Planner online but it was too expensive for what it was and I knew there had to be a better way. So I of course turned to google and typed in one simple search and came across THE BEST website. Basically the you can just plug in what you want and the page generates a PDF of the dot page for you.

 

I suggest using a slightly heavier paper such as this HP presentation paper so that your ink does not bleed though.  Also, don’t forget to print on BOTH sides of the paper!

dotgrid

These are the settings that I found to work for me. Print it out and then cut down to the correct size for your planner.

Make your paper here!

Classic Happy Planner: 9.25” x 7”
Mini Happy Planner:   7” x 4.63”
Big Happy Planner: 8.5” x 11”
A5 planner: 8.5” x 5.5”
Personal/A6 planner: 3.7″ x 6.7″
Now grab your punch and you’re good to go!

Looking for more printables? Be sure to check my printable library!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item via a link from the page I will receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item. In fact, I research the best prices for my site. All printables are free. Enjoy

Beauty and the Beast Bell Jars

April 28
No comments yet
*

Last week at work I had the opportunity to host an event for our volunteers. With the recent release of the new live action Beauty and the Beast movie I had the idea to tie the event to that theme. I mean Bell loves books, right? So of course I wanted to recreate the iconic rose for the centerpeoces. 

After some searching around this is what I came up with. It’s super simple inexpensive which is great if you need several like I did. Read on to see how I made them. 


Supplies:
2 liter soda bottles
1.5 in foam balls 
Black paint 
Black felt 
Roses
X-acto knife
Scissors
Goo Gone

Several hours before you need your completed project paint the styrofoam balls with the acrylic paint. You can use whatever paint you like except for spray paint as it ruins foam. I used the cheap little bottles of acrylic paint from the craft store.

Remove the label from the 2 liter bottle. I cut it off then used goo gone to remove the label. TIP:  If you are just buying the 2 liter for this project select one with a clear label as opposed to a colored one as they seem to leave less adhesive. Next saturate the adhesive reside with goo gone and let sit for a minute. After that use a coin or your nails to remove the goo. Wipe down the bottle to remove residual product.

Next grab an x-acto knife and puncture the bottle near the bottom.  You can then use the knife or good scissors to cut the bottom of the bottle off. I found that many bottles had a little seam there which made cutting easy. After you’ve removed the bottom set the bottle on a table to ensure it is fairly even. Remember that we are using felt on the bottom so if there is a small jagged part it is going to be alright.

Now that the jar is nice and cut it is time to make the lid. Remove the cap from the bottle and the plastic ring. I found that it was easy to use scissors to pry the plastic ring off.

Now you will want to cut your styrofoam balls. I cut mine about 1/3 of the way in. I then gouged out the insides so that it would fit on the top. I used an x-acto knife to do this, just be careful! Next carefully push the ball onto the top of the bottle. If you push too hard it could break.At this point I grabbed some windex and cleaned the inside and the outside of the bottle, removing any remaining fingerprints or debris.

Now it is time to grab your flower. Cut your flower so that it fit in the bottle with the bottom resting on the table and the flower appearing near the top of the bottle. If your flower has movable leaves feel free to move them around to your liking. The fuller the jar looks the better.

It is now time to grab the felt and cut a circle that is about 1-2 inches wider in diameter than your bottle and place the circle under the bottle.

You’re done!


I used these as centerpieces. The tables were decorated with red and dark blue tablecloths with book pages spread like a table runner for accent. Rose petals would look lovely as well.

What do you think? Share below! 
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item via a link from the page I will receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item. In fact, I research the best prices for my site. All printables are free. Enjoy!

RELATED POSTS

Happy Planner dimensions

April 18
20 Comments
*


One of the most common things I see searched for in regards to the Happy Planner is the dimensions of the boxes. Several people have posted online and shared about one size planner or another, but I wanted to go ahead and share the dimensions of all three sizes of the Happy Planner for both the weekly and  monthly spreads.  Now it is all in one happy little place.

 

I measured my planners and because I am lazy sometimes, I just wrote the dimensions on them. Feel free to print, save, or use my images but please credit me if you share them anywhere.

Mini:

Daily boxes are 3.8″ wide and 1.5″ tall.

The pages are 7’x4.55″

 

Happy Planner Mini Monthly

The monthly boxes in the mini are 1″ wide and 1.25″ tall.

 

Classic:

Happy Planner Classic Weekly

 

Boxes in the weekly view of the classic planner are 1.5″ by 2.5″

Happy Planner Classic Monthly

Boxes on the monthly spread are 1.58″ x 1.58″

 

Big:

Big Happy Planner Daily View

Boxes on the weekly spread are 3.25″x1.9″

Big Happy PlanerMonthly View (2)

Boxes on the big monthly spread are 1.88″x 1.88″

I hope this information helps, I know the images are not the best, and I will hopefully be replacing them soon, but it is a starting pint.

 

Need a punch? I have this one and love it!
The new Happy Planners are out! Grab one here!.
Looking for sticker paper? I buy this one from Amazon.
I cut my stickers with a Silhouette Cameo electric cutting machine.
On a budget? Try the Gyro-cut to cut your stickers.
Looking for more? Check out my archive of free printables.

Big, classic, and mini happy planner page dimensions

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item via a link from the page I will receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item. In fact, I research the best prices for my site. All printables are free. Enjoy!

 

RELATED POSTS

Six simple things to do Sunday for a successful week

April 6
No comments yet
*

 

The last few months I have started getting into a great Sunday habit that I feel has really led to better weeks. I am calling it one habit, but my Sunday habit really is a set of six goals that I try to have met each Sunday before I go to bed. Sundays are generally my day off to myself as my husband works them so it is a great time to me to knock out some important errands. Depending on your schedule, you may have another day you do these tasks. Do it when it is best for you. For most of us Sunday is the day before the start of our workweek.

Meal Plan

One of the first things I do Sundays is meal plan. For me, meal planning is picking out dinners for the week as well as ensuring my husband and I have leftovers or other meals for lunches. I like to be realistic so I plan easy meals for busy nights and more elaborate dinners for nights when I am off or actually have time. I also take my husband’s schedule into account so if I know he is working late Thursday night I may make that a leftovers night instead of trying to cook a full meal just for myself. You know you and your family. Make a plan that works for you, but also be flexible with it. Want to grab tacos on Tuesday? Go for it, just make Tuesday’s meal on Wednesday! 

Shopping

After I have my meals I put together my grocery list. I add items for meals as well as check the staples in the pantry and fridge. I also text my husband and get any ideas from him. This is a great time to check the bathrooms and storage as well to ensure you are stocked up on toiletries and paper products. My goal is to have everything for the week purchased so I don’t have to make extra trips to the store during the week. After the list is made I do my shopping and put away my purchases.

Clothing

Next I walk into my closet and plan my outfits for the week. When I tell people I plan my outfits they are usually a little shocked at first, but after I explain my process a little more they get it. Yes, I do plan my work outfits, but I am not super strict about it. I will hang them in an area of my closet in order Monday, Tuesday, ect, but I am very flexible on when I wear what. I also look at my planner to see if I have any important meetings I need to dress up for or any other plans that might affect my wardrobe choices. I also like to glance at the weather as well. This really makes getting ready in the dark in the morning easy. Just grab a set and go.

As I mentioned, these outfits are hung in order in the front of my closet. If camisoles are needed I grab them and put them on the hangers. Going through my drawers looking for the hot pink camisole at 6:30 am is not fun.

Generally my laundry is already done by this point, but if there is an item I need for the week now is the time I’d toss it in the wash and do a load.

Lunches

Back to food again. I know it sounds silly, but having all the meals thought out really does set me up for a better week. I like to pick up my snacks for the week at this time. Granola bars, fruit, and hard-boiled eggs are my current favorites. Usually I eat a small snack in the afternoon at work to tie me over until dinner.  Now is the time I cook any rice, quinoa, or beans my husband or I need for lunches.

The Car

One my last to dos is to check my car. I clean out anything left from the week before and ensure it is gassed up for the next week. Getting gas Monday morning is just not fun.

Straightening

The last thing I do is more of just a generally habit. I like to take a few minutes in the afternoon and just pick up anything around the house or the kitchen. It is great to go into the workweek with a clean house; it really helps me mentally prepare for the week.

I like to have all this done by dinnertime so I can make dinner and enjoy the evening before the workweek. Keep in mind, this system works well for me but please optimize it for your own use. Maybe you don’t pack a lunch or you wear a uniform. Skip those steps and feel free to add anything else you need. Also don’t feel like you need to spend an entire day getting ready for the week. You of course do need to grocery shop every once in a while, but the rest of this is easy stuff that does not take a lot of time. Enjoy your day and plan to have a great week!

 

Six Simple Things

RELATED POSTS